OWAC professional Awards

Excellence in Craft

The Excellence in Craft Awards (EIC) presented by the Outdoor Writers Association of California (OWAC) is a program designed to recognize excellence in the field of outdoor journalism and media communications by media professionals on topics related to the Outdoors. Given annually by OWAC, these awards represent the best achievements in 15 categories as established by the OWAC Board of Directors.

In keeping with OWAC’s mission, “to expand public information on outdoor recreation and conservation,” these awards are a recognition of excellence as adjudicated by peers in the field of outdoor media communications.

2021 Excellence in Craft Awards has closed.
Winners announced June 1st.

Californian of the Year

Californian of the Year was established by OWAC in 1993. The award is the most prestigious given by OWAC to honor “outdoors men and women who have done the most to improve the environment and save fish and wildlife in California.”

Past recipients have been teachers, biologists, wildlife advocates, politicians, lands agency managers and everyday citizens who have taken up a cause benefitting the environment, wildlife and/or fish.

Active and supporting members of OWAC make the selection. The 2020 Californian of the Year was awarded to Lori Gray.

2021 Californian of the Year
will open for nominations
in July 2021.

Student Awards

The Pat Vachini Outdoor Writing Contest, which is open to California high school students, is named for the late wife of Don Vachini, long-time OWAC member and one of California’s foremost outdoor writers and photographers.

Eight students from five California high schools were winners in this year’s Pat Vachini Writing and Photography Contest sponsored by OWAC. Cash awards to the winners total almost $1,000.

Watchable Wildlife

The California Watchable Wildlife Project celebrates the state’s wildlife and diverse habitats by acknowledging and elevating the value of wildlife viewing to benefit individuals, families, communities, and industries while fostering awareness and support for conservation and protection of wildlife and habitats.

This program administers annual wildlife photography contest, which OWAC is proud to help promote.

You are invited to submit your very best photos of California wildlife for the 2021 California Wildlife Photo of the Year contest.

The 2021 contest has five submission *Entry Periods, beginning in January, 2021 and ending October 31, 2021. The final judging period, November – December, 2021, is reserved for selecting the Photo of the Year. The 2021 10th annual contest is presented by California Watchable Wildlife and Outdoor California, and sponsored by Sierra Nevada Conservancy and Out of this World Optics.

Subscribe to our bi-monthly newsletter for the latest outdoor news. 

Opens for entries
Monday March 1

Write to us